“Always ask: ‘What is there for me to learn in this, God? What are You teaching me?’” —Charles R. Swindoll
We all agree—life is difficult. Without warning, tragedy strikes and cuts our legs out from under us. It’s bad enough when such pain comes as the result of our wrongdoing. But how do we bear the pain of unjust suffering?
Our biblical ally in these situations is Job. One day God gave Satan permission to take away Job’s children, belongings, and even his health (Job 1:12–2:6). In what seemed like the blink of an eye, Job lost everything!
When this happened, Job experienced profound grief. Not hiding his pain, he expressed his sorrow before the Lord. Then Job worshipped God, accepting His sovereign plan over his life (1:20–22). In the midst of sudden loss and extreme pain, Job maintained discernment, stayed rooted in his theology, and submitted himself to the Lord (2:10).
Through this study in Job we learn four lessons, which can prepare us for when tragedy strikes.
- The Truth: Everything starts with what kind of people we are—our character. We can’t quickly prepare for sudden loss, we must take time cultivating our dependence on God, developing solid theology, living in obedience to His Word, and learning to handle times of testing
- The Future: James 4:13–16 reminds us we have no idea what tomorrow holds. But we do know the God who holds our future. Let’s begin to believe these words and rest in this knowledge
- The Warning: When tragedy strikes, some people will give bad advice—about God, about the reason for our trials, and about what to do next. But as we stay rooted in sound theology and spend time with God, He’ll enable us to recognize bad counsel
- The Response: When the unthinkable happens, let’s remember Job’s response. He freely grieved his losses but didn’t throw a pity party. Job accepted the fact God was in control, even though he didn’t understand God’s plan
How will you respond the next time tragedy strikes? Think about your options. You can blame God and become bitter, or you can be like Job—grieve your loss and worship God for His sovereignty in your life.